©  Copyright Rachell Elaine Jackson.  All Rights Reserved.  Website design and hosting by North Mobile Internet Services, Inc.

When’s Daddy Comin’ Home?

Chapter 1

The Chase The Garden District Middle School had a small concert band of nineteen players when they were all present. They were almost never all present.  Duffy Bowdrie never missed a class or concert. But she had other problems. As she sat down in the front row, Audrey turned to her. “Any news?” she asked. Duffy shook her head. “That’s the pits.” “Mom called again, but they still don’t know anything.” On the other side of her, LaWana said, “I’d sue ‘em, Duff. That’s what I’d do.” “LaWana, you can’t sue the Marines.” “Why not?” Just as Duffy was about to answer, Mr. Taylor ushered a small but strongly built woman into the room. She was energetic with smooth brown skin, sharply arching brows, bouncy hair, and a big smile. “Students,” he said. “This is Ms. Dunmore. She’s the director of the Garden District High School band. Hopefully, some of you will be playing for her in a year or two. But today she has a request. She needs your help.” She stepped forward and spoke in a strong, bright voice. “The high school band has been invited to march in the fall parade. And we’re very excited about it. But we’re a little shorthanded. We need some volunteers to serve as the Color Guard. Any takers?” “What’s a Color Guard?” Jermaine asked. “The flag carriers. They march in front of the band. Are you volunteering?” “No! I don’t carry flags. I play drums.” Duffy raised her hand. “I’ll do it. I’m volunteering.” “Okay. That’s good, baby,” Ms. Dunmore said. “But I need three more. Four altogether.” Duffy put her arms around Audrey on one side of her and LaWana and Roselle on the other side and pulled them close to her. “What are you doing, Duff? Let go!” Roselle said. “We volunteer, Ms. Dunmore,” Duffy yelled. “All four of us.” She turned to them. “Don’t we, girls?” “You’re squeezing me, Duff,” Roselle said. Duffy turned to her. “It’ll be great fun.” “Well, okay. I guess.” “I’m in,” Audrey said. “I’ve never marched before,” LaWana said. “How long is the parade?” “A little over four miles,” Ms. Dunmore responded. “Four miles?! Duffy, I can’t march four miles! Unless you want to carry me for the last three.” Ignoring her comment, Duffy turned to Ms. Dunmore. “We’ll do it!” “A great big okay then!” Ms. Dunmore shouted as she waved her arms in celebration. A few weeks later, they marched down St. Charles Avenue and turned left onto Canal Street, New Orleans’ main thoroughfare. There the wind coming off the Mississippi River was very strong. Duffy heard LaWana scream as her flag was grabbed by a huge gust and roughly thrown to the street where it cart-wheeled in her direction. She seized it with one hand while hanging onto her own flag with the other and returned it to the moaning and now impressed LaWana. At least, that’s what she imagined she did. “Girrrl! How did you do that?” LaWana blurted. As she continued marching without missing a beat, Duffy simply smiled. Behind her were the majorettes, the Drum Major, and the 35 piece band.  There must have been twenty tall floats, all packed with gaily dressed riders who showered the screaming spectators behind the metal barriers with tons of beads, toy footballs, plastic whistles, cups, stuffed dolls, and various other “throws.” As soon as they completed their turn onto Canal, the Drum Major blew his whistle four times: tweet . . . tweet-tweet-tweet. The drums beat their four-bar “roll-off,” and the band began to play. They marched up to Burgundy, made a u-turn and headed back toward the river. Duffy wondered what it would be like to be a majorette. She imagined herself setting fire to both ends of a baton, twirling it, and tossing it two stories high—maybe four or even six stories high! She would do three forward flips and catch it in mid-air. Then she would bow to thunderous applause from the spectators. She couldn’t really do that, of course. It was all in her dreams. Her friends sometimes accused her of having an over-active imagination, of making things up, of seeing things that didn’t exist. But they existed for her. She enjoyed the occasional drift from reality. Then she spotted him—standing right there among the crowd on the corner of Bourbon Street. Her daddy! Her missing daddy! In his military fatigues. Their eyes met. He blinked and turned away, pushing his way through the crowd and heading down Bourbon. She left the parade behind and dreamed that she quickly shuffled out of her uniform to reveal her running shorts, tee-top, and sneakers and, using her flag pole, vaulted over the metal barricade with her blonde ponytail following. She shoved her way through the mass of people on Bourbon and paused long enough to look for him. He was about a block ahead. “Daddy!” she screamed. Click here to find out how to purchase this book.
©  Copyright Rachell Elaine Jackson.  All Rights Reserved.  Website design and hosting by North Mobile Internet Services, Inc.

When’s Daddy

Comin’ Home?

Chapter 1

The Chase The Garden District Middle School had a small concert band of nineteen players when they were all present. They were almost never all present.  Duffy Bowdrie never missed a class or concert. But she had other problems. As she sat down in the front row, Audrey turned to her. “Any news?” she asked. Duffy shook her head. “That’s the pits.” “Mom called again, but they still don’t know anything.” On the other side of her, LaWana said, “I’d sue ‘em, Duff. That’s what I’d do.” “LaWana, you can’t sue the Marines.” “Why not?” Just as Duffy was about to answer, Mr. Taylor ushered a small but strongly built woman into the room. She was energetic with smooth brown skin, sharply arching brows, bouncy hair, and a big smile. “Students,” he said. “This is Ms. Dunmore. She’s the director of the Garden District High School band. Hopefully, some of you will be playing for her in a year or two. But today she has a request. She needs your help.” She stepped forward and spoke in a strong, bright voice. “The high school band has been invited to march in the fall parade. And we’re very excited about it. But we’re a little shorthanded. We need some volunteers to serve as the Color Guard. Any takers?” “What’s a Color Guard?” Jermaine asked. “The flag carriers. They march in front of the band. Are you volunteering?” “No! I don’t carry flags. I play drums.” Duffy raised her hand. “I’ll do it. I’m volunteering.” “Okay. That’s good, baby,” Ms. Dunmore said. “But I need three more. Four altogether.” Duffy put her arms around Audrey on one side of her and LaWana and Roselle on the other side and pulled them close to her. “What are you doing, Duff? Let go!” Roselle said. “We volunteer, Ms. Dunmore,” Duffy yelled. “All four of us.” She turned to them. “Don’t we, girls?” “You’re squeezing me, Duff,” Roselle said. Duffy turned to her. “It’ll be great fun.” “Well, okay. I guess.” “I’m in,” Audrey said. “I’ve never marched before,” LaWana said. “How long is the parade?” “A little over four miles,” Ms. Dunmore responded. “Four miles?! Duffy, I can’t march four miles! Unless you want to carry me for the last three.” Ignoring her comment, Duffy turned to Ms. Dunmore. “We’ll do it!” “A great big okay then!” Ms. Dunmore shouted as she waved her arms in celebration. A few weeks later, they marched down St. Charles Avenue and turned left onto Canal Street, New Orleans’ main thoroughfare. There the wind coming off the Mississippi River was very strong. Duffy heard LaWana scream as her flag was grabbed by a huge gust and roughly thrown to the street where it cart-wheeled in her direction. She seized it with one hand while hanging onto her own flag with the other and returned it to the moaning and now impressed LaWana. At least, that’s what she imagined she did. “Girrrl! How did you do that?” LaWana blurted. As she continued marching without missing a beat, Duffy simply smiled. Behind her were the majorettes, the Drum Major, and the 35 piece band.  There must have been twenty tall floats, all packed with gaily dressed riders who showered the screaming spectators behind the metal barriers with tons of beads, toy footballs, plastic whistles, cups, stuffed dolls, and various other “throws.” As soon as they completed their turn onto Canal, the Drum Major blew his whistle four times: tweet . . . tweet-tweet-tweet. The drums beat their four-bar “roll-off,” and the band began to play. They marched up to Burgundy, made a u-turn and headed back toward the river. Duffy wondered what it would be like to be a majorette. She imagined herself setting fire to both ends of a baton, twirling it, and tossing it two stories high—maybe four or even six stories high! She would do three forward flips and catch it in mid-air. Then she would bow to thunderous applause from the spectators. She couldn’t really do that, of course. It was all in her dreams. Her friends sometimes accused her of having an over-active imagination, of making things up, of seeing things that didn’t exist. But they existed for her. She enjoyed the occasional drift from reality. Then she spotted him—standing right there among the crowd on the corner of Bourbon Street. Her daddy! Her missing daddy! In his military fatigues. Their eyes met. He blinked and turned away, pushing his way through the crowd and heading down Bourbon. She left the parade behind and dreamed that she quickly shuffled out of her uniform to reveal her running shorts, tee-top, and sneakers and, using her flag pole, vaulted over the metal barricade with her blonde ponytail following. She shoved her way through the mass of people on Bourbon and paused long enough to look for him. He was about a block ahead. “Daddy!” she screamed. Click here to find out how to purchase this book.
RachellElaineJackson

Author of middle grade books for tweens and teens

RachellElaineJackson

Author of middle grade books for tweens and teens